Thursday, April 26, 2018
Sports

Strawberry Crest boys basketball faces tough tourney challenge

TAMPA — Results on the court couldn't determine who was best among Strawberry Crest, Sickles and Armwood. So on Wednesday morning the Florida High School Athletic Association utilized the next-best approach.

Coaches for the teams gathered around a bowl with pieces of paper.

No, seriously, that's how the seeding was determined for next week's Class 6A, District 11 boys basketball tournament. And the Chargers didn't get lucky.

Hoping for the top seed and a relatively easy path to the district final, the Chargers instead will be in the No. 2 position for next week's tourney at Leto. Armwood had the fortune of being drawn as the No. 1.

Hawks head coach Jeff Pafunda joined Chargers coach Andre Lewis in person for the blind draw, held at Leto, while Sickles' Renaldo Garcia was on a conference call.

"Jeff didn't say anything, but he had a big smile on his face," Lewis said after the drawing.

At least the Chargers get a first-round bye. Sickles will have to play Leto on Monday, and, presuming the Gryphons win, they will take on Strawberry Crest Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. The Wednesday winners meet Friday at 7 p.m. for the district title, both teams assured of a playoff spot.

For its semifinal, Armwood gets to face King or Jefferson, both teams with losing records. Meanwhile, the likely Charger opponent (Sickles) was 19-4 entering the week.

"No disrespect to the other teams, but I think our game with Sickles is really the district championship," Lewis said.

Strawberry Crest did defeat the Gryphons 52-47 in mid December, a result that knocked Sickles off its seemed path to the regular-season district title.

Armwood then knocked off Sickles Jan. 11 to create the tie.

The Chargers are playing well of late, taking five in a row to improve to 15-7. They wrap up the regular season tonight at Lennard.

"It's all about the team that's hottest at the time, and right now we're on a pretty hot streak," Lewis said.

• • •

Armwood ran into a hot team Tuesday — Durant.

The Cougars won by 11 and have won three in a row, seven of 10 heading into tonight's contest with Steinbrenner.

Durant (10-11) is the last-place team in the District 8A-7 tournament, but only because of a narrow series of losses. But the Cougars remain hopeful.

Durant opens Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. against Plant at Bloomingdale, a team that needed a late three-pointer to beat the Cougars 51-49 recently. If the Cougars prevail, they face Alonso, a team they beat in January.

Plant City has home-court advantage for the 7A-8 tourney. The Raiders face a tough Tampa Bay Tech team in opening-round action Tuesday.

The finals are next Friday at 7 p.m..

Comments
Rays morning after: Cobb still searching

Rays morning after: Cobb still searching

The 12 years he spent in the Rays organization, and the seven seasons he was around the big-league team, mean the world to Alex Cobb.But Wednesday he wasn't in the mood for memories.After a third straight outing for his new Orioles team ended badly, ...
Updated: 6 minutes ago
After Bucs’ second-round pick, they face a historically bad situation

After Bucs’ second-round pick, they face a historically bad situation

Say Saquon Barkley, Bradley Chubb and Quenton Nelson are gone by the time the Bucs are up to make the seventh overall pick tonight at the NFL draft.What should they do? Take a defensive back? Trade down and acquire more picks?Here's some ammunition f...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Bucs fill a need at running back on the first day of the draft…but it’s Charles Sims, who agrees to a 1-year deal

Bucs fill a need at running back on the first day of the draft…but it’s Charles Sims, who agrees to a 1-year deal

The Bucs landed a running back on the first day of the NFL draft.It wasn't Saquon Barkley or Sony Michel or Derrius Guice. Not just yet, anyway.Tampa Bay reached an agreement on a one-year contract with Charles Sims.The 27-year-old Sims was a third-r...
Updated: 1 hour ago
The Lightning is fun, but does its playoff run translate into dollars for Tampa?

The Lightning is fun, but does its playoff run translate into dollars for Tampa?

TAMPA — As the Tampa Bay Lightning wait for the Boston Bruins to come to town for the next round of playoffs, the city’s business community — large and small — say they’ve already won this NHL postseason.At WestShore Plaza this week, with blue and wh...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays’ 8-4 win over Orioles

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays’ 8-4 win over Orioles

Marc Topkin's takeaways from the Rays 8-4 win over the Orioles on Wednesday:* RHP Alex Cobb is going to be Alex Cobb again. But it seemed clear from watching him against his old Rays mates he's not quite ready yet, the result of signing in late March...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Three things to know about new Land O’Lakes football coach Chad Walker

Three things to know about new Land O’Lakes football coach Chad Walker

Chad Walker, 34, is the new football coach at Land O'Lakes, inheriting a team that went 4-5 under Brian Wachtel in 2017. Walker played college football at Lafayette College in Easton, Pa., from 2002-05. He didn't move to Florida until Jan. 1, 20...
Updated: 2 hours ago
A look at the Lightning-Bruins series

A look at the Lightning-Bruins series

So it is the Bruins.The big, bad Bruins.The Bruins come to town Saturday for the start of the Eastern Conference semifinals with the Lightning, a best-of-seven series that begins with a 3 p.m. puck drop.It is the second-round series nearly everyone p...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Five reasons Palm Harbor University football will be better this season

Five reasons Palm Harbor University football will be better this season

PALM HARBOR — There is plenty of optimism at Palm Harbor University, which has some key returners in place that can help the Hurricanes improve on last season's 3-5 football record. Here are five reasons PHU can turn things around, starting thi...
Updated: 3 hours ago
After Twitter backlash, Jeff Garcia won’t announce any Bucs draft picks

After Twitter backlash, Jeff Garcia won’t announce any Bucs draft picks

The Bucs still don't have a third-round draft pick this weekend, but if they do trade for one, former Tampa Bay Bucs quarterback Jeff Garcia won't be the one to announce it.It's been a rough few days for Garcia, who played for the Bucs in 2007-08, ma...
Updated: 3 hours ago
IAAF rules to limit testosterone levels for female runners

IAAF rules to limit testosterone levels for female runners

MONACO — New rules for female athletes with high natural testosterone levels which could force two-time Olympic 800-meter champion Caster Semenya to stop running middle-distance races. From Nov. 1, the IAAF will limit entry for all international even...
Updated: 3 hours ago